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Strikers

Although only enjoying sporadic success, City have had a long line of top class strikers
Ever since 1922, York City have had a rich heritage in strikers. The early non league days saw Joe Hulme and Reg Stockill prominent. Hulme went on to play for Arsenal and England. Stockill, both City’s youngest ever player and youngest ever scorer, followed him into City’s team and onto Arsenal (this time via Arsenal).

From those early days, City’s Scottish striker, Jimmy Cowie also merits a mention, scoring a club record 56 goals in the 1928/9 season, City’s final non league season before election to The Football League. That season, he twice scored 6 goals in a game, but couldn’t replicate his form in City’s first 2 seasons in the League.

Reg Baines was a heavy scorer whose City career straddled City’s non league and league days in 2 spells and scored a club record 8 hat tricks for City. Tom Fenoughty scored 104 goals for City between 1926 and 1934, the first ever player to score 100 goals for City.

In the immediate post war years, Alf Patrick set a new club record by scoring 117 goals for City in just 7 seasons before his career drew to an end, having made his Football League debut aged 25 in 1946.

Our 1954/5 FA Cup run saw Arthur Bottom, Norman Wilkinson, Billy Fenton and Billy Hughes form a formidable attack, the best in Division 3 (North), some said the best in the entire Football League. That season, Arthur Bottom was to score 39 goals for City, a number not bettered since we entered The Football League in 1929. He left for a brief top flight career with Newcastle in 1958.

Bottom’s teammate, Norman Wilkinson, signed at the same time as Bottom in the summer of 1954 was to enjoy a 12 year career with City scoring an all time club record of 143 goals for City. Powerful in the air, he was a consistent, rather than prolific, scorer, 23 goals in his first City season was the only time he scored more than 20.

In the 1957/8, Billy Fenton set a new club record of 124 goals which Norman Wilkinson had broken with his 143 goals by the time he retired in 1966. The record stands to this day. Joining "The Happy Wanderers" in 1956 was Peter Wragg, who enjoyed a 17 year professional career. Signed for a club record fee of £4,000, he was a versatile forward or attacking midfield player. He scored 87 goals for City and captained City to our first ever promotion in 1959.

Despite a disappointing decade, the 1960s saw the emergence of 3 top strikers. Paul Aimson had 2 spells with City, many would describe him as City’s best ever striker. 2 youngsters, Ted MacDougall and Phil Boyer were picked up cheaply, both moved to Bournemouth and later top flight clubs. Both won international honours, Scotland and England respectively.

Although not the best strikers to play for City, Jimmy Seal and Chris Jones deserve a mention as they notched 37 goals between them as City clinched promotion to Division 2 in 1974. Alongside them saw the emergence Brian Pollard, a young and pacy winger with an eye for goal who went onto play top flight football for Watford.

As City struggled after Division 2, more stars were to emerge. First, Gordon Staniforth, a diminutive striker who was sold to Carlisle for a club record £120,000 fee, as he left, his place in the team was filled by John Byrne. Later, paired with Keith Walwyn, their goals powered City to the Division 4 championship in 1984.

Shortly afterwards, Byrne left City for QPR and was to play for Eire. Walwyn to was spend 6 seasons with City, scoring between 24 and 29 goals in 5 of those seasons, the other curtailed by an Achilles injury which restricted his mobility and meant he didn't play after February. He moved to divisional rivals Blackpool in 1987 when unable to agree a new contract with City. Walwyn scored 140 goals for City, agonisingly just 3 short of the all time club record.

It wasn’t until Paul Barnes was signed by John Ward after a long pursuit that City had another striker to be feared. His goals were instrumental as City enjoyed Wembley play off success in 1993 and memorably his brace at Old Trafford saw City vanquish Manchester United 3-0 in the 1995 Coca Cola Cup. Alongside Barnes, Tony Canham was to supply many of his chances, a left winger in the Brian Pollard mode.

City’s youth policy proved fruitful in the 1990s. Richard Cresswell emerged earning England Under 21 recognition with City before a club record £900,000 move to Premier League Sheffield Wednesday in 1999. A little earlier, his good friend Jon Greening, an attacking midfielder had left City for Manchester United.

More lean years followed until the emergence of Richard Brodie. Starring for Newcastle Benfield against City in an FA Cup tie, he joined in January 2007 City and was to score a 34 goals in the 2009/10 season before leaving for Crawley for £275,000 a few month later. Sadly, his career never progressed as it might have done, a return to City proving to be a disappointment.

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